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Tensions Emerge at NATO Summit

Seventy years after the founding of NATO, a military alliance originally meant to protect western Europe from the Soviet Union, world leaders gathered in London with the intent of discussing policy goals. However, tensions between the various leaders overshadowed this plan, as conflicts between leaders became apparent both during speeches given by these leaders and the conversations they had with each other, some of which was captured by a hot mic and circulated online. President Trump, whom the other leaders appeared to criticize in conversations amongst themselves, abruptly decided to cancel a press conference at the close of the meeting, instead returning to Washington prematurely. As justification for the sudden cancellation, Trump cited the fact that he had already spoken with the media for a substantial period of time. Trump’s sudden decision to abandon the summit speaks to the tensions felt between world leaders with respect to the American president, and ultimately represents a failure of world leaders to see eye-to-eye with Trump.

Tensions arose even before the summit began, as French president Emmanuel Macron declared that the organization had become “brain dead” as a result of American indifference to the military alliance. According to Macron, Europe can no longer rely on the United States to defend NATO allies, as the current administration cannot be trusted. Trump responded to Macron’s incisive comments by calling them “insulting” and “nasty.” Later, Macron said that he stood by his comments.

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NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, addressed the tensions over the meeting, making a call for unity and assuring his audience that NATO was strong and agile enough to overcome these tensions. Stoltenberg then described NATO’s goals for North America and Europe, which include continuing the international fight against terrorism, arms control, fighting Russia, and dealing with the rise of China. Referencing the internal divisions between world leaders who are members of NATO, Stoltenberg pointed out that there has always been differences between world leaders since NATO began, such as disputes about the 1956 Suez crisis and the war in Iraq.

While meeting Trump, Prince Charles appeared to subtly give the American president the middle finger

Things only became more tense as the meeting progressed. Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron held a joint press conference, during which Macron criticized the American president for his handling of the conflict in Turkey and the Islamic State fighters in Syria as well as a developing trade dispute between France and the United States. Macron’s criticism of American leadership led Trump to defend NATO, an unusual position for a president who has spoken at length about his opinion that NATO is outdated and obsolete. Macron also fact-checked Trump in real-time; when Trump claimed that the ISIS prisoners being held in Syria are “mostly from Europe,” Macron responded that they in fact come from Syria and Iraq. Trump responded to these criticisms by appearing to threaten to send ISIS fighters to France, causing Macron to say, “Let’s be serious.” Despite the conflict between the two leaders, the joint conference ended up running long, causing Macron to be late for the next event.

 

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Shortly afterwards, several leaders engaged in a conversation, appearing to gossip about Trump, part of which was captured on a video which generated significant attention online. During this conversation, which included Macron as well as English Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. During the brief portion of the conversation which has become publicly available, Johnson asks Macron why he was late, leading Trudeau to make a comment about Trump’s excessively long press conferences. Apparently referencing Trump, Trudeau commented that “you just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.” Though Trump’s name was not mentioned during this portion of the conversation, it was clear to many observers that the person these leaders were discussing was President Trump. While Johnson denied having participated in this conversation about the American president, Trudeau confirmed that he had in fact discussed Trump with others, clarifying that his comment about his team’s jaws dropping was a reference to the President’s decision to host the G7 summit at Camp David. After the video circulated online, Trump fired back against Trudeau, calling him “two-faced,” later adding that he thought he was “very dishonest and weak.”

Tensions between the leaders also arose in more subtle ways. While meeting Trump, Prince Charles appeared to subtly give the American president the middle finger, though the gesture may have been unintentional. Trump also left Johnson and Stoltenberg waiting for nearly six minutes on stage at the beginning of the meeting, as he arrived late. And when Macron shook Melania Trump’s hand, he used both hands and lingered for a moment, which was perceived by some as a power play against Trump. Though the interaction between the two is minor, Trump has been known to use somewhat aggressive body language in his interactions with others, leading other world leaders to develop strategies for handling this quirk. While trying to read the intentions of others based on their body language is not entirely reliable, there exist a countless number of examples of how the tensions between leaders of the world right now manifest in various ways, many of which transpired during this year’s NATO meeting.

Office Meeting

Why Traditional Office Habits, Still Work

The world is constantly developing and advancing. Our phones listen to us and plan out our lives, our cars are learning to drive on their own, face identification technology lets us skip TSA lines, and so much more. The workplace especially has become a place in which technology works to make our 9-5 days go by smoother, and with less physical work on our end. Office spaces are constantly changing to keep up with the times, and competitors. However, a lot of old-school workplace methods and techniques have held up as the years have gone on. The use of physical planners, calendars, business cards, etc. all have maintained their use in office spaces. Whether it be because of a more traditional administration, personal choice, or simply maintaining the “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” mentality, conventional office tools are thriving in an otherwise digitized world. 

Sticking to more common workplace organization techniques has been said to keep individuals more organized and focused, according to Fast Company Business Magazine. While some methods may be more laborious than simply typing in an appointment to your e-calendar, taking the extra steps works with your brain to remember important details, times, clients, etc, through the physical work. 

Taking handwritten notes, and organizing your day on paper is a widely popular method to remain organized. Before your day is over, instead of quickly trying to get as much work as possible done so you have an easier load for tomorrow, reflect on what you’ve accomplished for the day. Write out what tasks took you how long, and then begin to think about what you’ll need to do for tomorrow. If you know you’ll have to make an important phone call, send an email, meet with an individual, work on a specific piece of a project, etc. block out a good chunk of time in a physical calendar. Then, make a list of the other things that you NEED to get done, and a list of things that aren’t as urgent, but would be beneficial to work on if time allows. Having your daily goals and work written out in front of you in a scheduled fashion can help ease any overwhelming anxieties. In addition, writing them down will trigger a muscle memory response, meaning it’s less likely you’ll forget any of your daily work requirements. 

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Another traditional tip that is beneficial is picking up the phone and calling an individual as opposed to emailing them back and forth. While emails are quick, and easier than talking on the phone, hearing your voice personally will tell the client, or whoever you’re on the phone with, that you care about the project you’re working on. With emailing there’s no guarantee as to when the recipient will respond, if they’ll answer all questions that warrant responses, and in general is way less personal. On the phone, you can guarantee you’ll get any answers you need; an additional tip would be to write down all the things you need clarified before getting on the phone to make sure you don’t miss anything. In the same way that you would want to call a job that you’re interested in acquiring to show the higher ups that you mean business, you should call office contacts for the same effect. 

Business cards may seem like an outdated form of exchanging contact information, especially with how easy it is to exchange digital information, however, there’s a certain level of professionalism that comes with a business card. Cards can be so much more personable and the interaction between you and the recipient of the card will be more memorable as opposed to just emailing someone all your contact information. 

Abigail Cook Stone, the CEO of Otherland, a very well known candle company, spoke to Fast Company Magazine about why having a business card is a necessity for her employees. “For creative, design-forward professionals, especially, it’s worth going the extra mile with a clever, memorable design that speaks to their company’s product or services and showcases their brand’s personality.” 

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Fast Company Magazine also emphasized how writing thank you cards to clients and holding technology free meetings can also lead to a more personal and engaging work environment for employees, administrators, and clients/third-parties that a company might be working for certain projects. Writing handwritten thank you notes is such a rarity in the world of emails, social media posts, and text messaging. So when working with third-party sources or clients or anyone else who’s providing you and your business a beneficial service that would require a response, writing a thank you card will show those people how appreciative you really are. It’s more likely that the positive impact of the personal gesture will help maintain those contacts for the future.

Technology free meetings have become much more popular over the years. While many individuals like using their laptops and phones to take notes, remember discussion points, etc. holding a meeting where only a pen and paper is allowed will, like the thank you cards, allow for a more personal experience for everyone. This way the meetings are all discussion based, and everyone involved can feel included in the conversation, and not be hidden behind a screen. 

Lindsay McCormick, CEO of Bite Toothpaste Bits, told Fast Company why she loves having technology free meetings. “If you’re in a meeting, it’s because your input is vital. The fastest way to get things done is for everyone in the room to give their complete focus and attention. Plus, it can have added benefits. It helps our team bond because moments of downtime don’t end up with everyone grabbing their phones and instead leads to people chatting and catching up.”